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Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon Review: A Beautiful, Powerful Machine

Rating: 9/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $1,283.49
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon on a glass end table
Danny Chadwick / Review Geek

As a long-time Mac user, it’s been a while since I’ve used a Windows PC. When I got the opportunity to test the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon, I was thrilled to see what I’ve been missing. And after a month of using this laptop, I’m re-evaluating my life choices where computers are concerned.

It didn’t take long for the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon to win my heart. This machine’s ultralight weight, dazzling display, lightning speed, and long battery life put nearly everything about my MacBook Pro to shame. And given that this laptop’s price tag is comparable to that of a new Mac, it just got even more difficult for me to justify staying with Apple when it comes time to buy a new laptop.

I can only speculate if everyday Windows users would agree with me, but I find it hard to imagine that anyone who uses this laptop would feel let down or that they didn’t get their money’s worth. My quibbles about the machine are mostly limited to some of its components not being as stellar as the rest. All in all, though, it’s quite simply the best laptop I’ve ever used.

Here's What We Like

  • Beautiful OLED display
  • Super high-quality speakers
  • Weighs less than three pounds
  • Long-lasting battery

And What We Don't

  • Connection ports are USB-C only
  • Webcam only captures in 720p
  • Included adapter lacks an SD card slot

 

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Specs as Reviewed

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U Processor (1.90GHz, up to 4.40GHz max boost, 8 Cores, 16 threads, 16 MB cache)
  • RAM: 16 GB LPDDR4X dual channel
  • Display: 14.0″ 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED, glossy, touchscreen with Dolby Vision, True Black, HDR, 400 nits, 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX450 2GB
  • Camera: IR & 720p HD
  • Ports: USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2xUSB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort 1.4+PD 3.0), 3.5mm audio jack
  • Wireless Connectivity: 802.11AX (2×2) & Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio: Dual Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Battery: 61Wh, MobileMark 2018, Rapid Charge Express support
  • Dimensions: 0.59 x 12.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

Design: Lightweight and Durable

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon on a desk
Danny Chadwick / Review Geek

The first thing I noticed about the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon was how light it is. Upon picking up this 2.4-pound laptop, I was afraid I would break it. But after a month of using it, I never did. I even had a couple of accidental drop tests. Once when my cat pushed it off my desk onto the carpet, and again when he pushed it off an end table onto a tile floor, which made a gnarly thwack. But it worked perfectly following both feline assaults. There were no dings or scratches on the carbon fiber reinforced magnesium alloy chassis, nor any cracks in the display.

Its thin design makes it the most portable machine I have ever used. It’s about half a pound lighter than my personal laptop. So, I could really feel the difference in carrying it around in my laptop bag. Anything to lighten the load is greatly appreciated.

One of the nice things about this laptop is that the display tilts as far back as 180 degrees. That means you can lay it completely flat, making it easy to find the right viewing angle for any situation.

Display and Speakers: The Perfect Combo

"Avengers: Infinity War" playing on the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
Danny Chadwick / Review Geek

The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon’s standout features are its gorgeous display and outstanding speakers. Either alone would be the star of the show, but the combination of both makes this laptop worth its price tag.

The 14-inch, 2.4K OLED display is eye-popping. Its 2880 x 1800p resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, and 16:10 aspect ratio work together to produce deep blacks, vibrant colors, super high contrast, and a wide viewing angle. The result is an immersive visual experience with any task you undertake on this laptop, from watching videos and creating media to simple gaming and even word processing.

Another nice touch is that the display doubles as a touchscreen, which gives you an alternative to using the keyboard and trackpad for every interaction. Touch capabilities are sensitive, snappy, and precise whether you’re tapping on-screen buttons and hyperlinks or using multi-touch gestures like pinching and swiping.

To test the capabilities of the touchscreen, I installed the Windows version of my favorite mobile app, Star Trek Timelines. I loved the experience of playing in 2K resolution, as well as with quick touch responsiveness and lightning-fast load times. I will definitely miss these enhancements when I go back to playing exclusively on my iPhone.

The sound array features four Dolby Atmos speakers, a smart amp, and digital signal processing. They are an ideal complement to the excellent display, and the speakers produce more than enough volume to fill the room it occupies. I loaded up my Spotify account and listened to music and podcasts for several hours. The sound was crisp, clear, and captivating. Suffice it to say that the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon delivered the best audio experience I’ve had with a laptop.

To test the combined audio-video experience, I downloaded Avengers: Infinity War for its heavy CGI effects and intense score. I didn’t intend to watch the entire two and half hour movie, but the visuals were so dazzling and the audio so absorbing on this laptop that I didn’t look away from the screen once, and I never wanted to put on headphones. I’ve never been so entranced by a silver screen blockbuster on a 14-inch display.

Connectivity: Welcome to Adapter-land

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon left-side connection ports.
Danny Chadwick / Review Geek

Users should be aware that this model follows the industry trend in terms of connectivity. You get three USB-C terminals (one of which is for the battery charger, but it can be used for other things too) plus a headphone jack. While going completely USB-C the way of the future, and we Mac users have been well down this path for years, USB-A is far from being dead. Most of the computer accessories we use every day still connect via USB-A. So, if you choose to buy this laptop, be prepared to invest some cash in adapters for your peripherals.

The adapter that comes in the box with the computer, however, is of limited value. It has a single HDMI port, a VGA jack, and a USB-A slot. And while this is great for hooking up an additional display or connecting an external hard drive, it leaves a lot to be desired. The most notable omission is an SD card slot, followed by an Ethernet port. Additional USB-A and HDMI ports would also be nice to have.

The wireless connectivity options on the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon are standard fare among laptops these days. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are 100% reliable, and neither failed at any point while I used the machine.

Keyboard, Trackpad, Webcam, Microphone: Just Okay

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon's Keyboard and Trackpad
Danny Chadwick / Review Geek

The keyboard on the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon features scooped buttons that are soft, responsive, and quiet. They are slightly larger and spaced farther apart than my Mac’s chiclet keys. It took me a day or so to adapt my typing pattern to fit the new layout, but after that, it was smooth sailing. The only typing error that persisted was hitting the 8 key instead of 7 on the number row.

I spent more than a few hours writing several thousand words on this laptop and never had any issues with the keyboard performance. But it never impressed me either.

The keyboard on this laptop follows Lenovo’s trend of swapping the placement of the Ctrl and Fn keys. It doesn’t bother me because I don’t use the Fn key very much, but it might irritate some users accustomed to the traditional configuration. For them, I recommend either digging into the included Lenovo Vantage software or the system BIOS to remap the function of those buttons.

The trackpad, webcam, and internal microphone function adequately, but given the excellent performance on this machine otherwise, I expected more. While the physical shutter-lock is a nice touch, the webcam only captures video in 720p. Additionally, the recorded sound quality on the internal microphone is dull at best, and the trackpad works well but is nothing to write home about.

Nevertheless, the webcam and microphone work well enough for tasks such as Zoom meetings and VoIP calls. But if you plan on intense media production like YouTube videos or podcasts, you’ll want to upgrade to some more beefy equipment.

Battery Life: All Day Long and Then Some

Lenovo’s spec sheet states you can expect 14 hours of battery life on a full charge. My experience with this machine bears out that claim. The first day I used it, I charged it fully via the USB-C terminal and turned off the battery saver. It lasted about a day and a half of regular use before it shut down. And it only took about an hour to charge it back up to a full battery. After that, I charged it regularly and never ran low on battery power.

Bottom Line: A Fantastic Machine If You Can Afford It

Everything that comes in the box with the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
Danny Chadwick / Review Geek

I have avoided mentioning the cost of this machine so far because of its high price tag. As of this writing, Lenovo lists the starting price of the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon at just under $1,300. That’s expensive, but not as much as some other Lenovo models we’ve reviewed. However, the gleaming display; thumping speakers; rugged, lightweight design; high-speed processing; touchscreen capabilities; and long battery life make this computer worth every penny.

Downsides such as the lack of legacy connection ports, 720p webcam, and lackluster internal microphone are hard to ignore. But given that the connectivity is an inevitable result of technology marching forward, and the camera and microphone are merely lower quality by comparison to the screen and speakers, I’m willing to forgive them given the outstanding performance of the machine as a whole.

Rating: 9/10
Price: $1,283.49

Here’s What We Like

  • Beautiful OLED display
  • Super high-quality speakers
  • Weighs less than three pounds
  • Long-lasting battery

And What We Don't

  • Connection ports are USB-C only
  • Webcam only captures in 720p
  • Included adapter lacks an SD card slot

 

Danny Chadwick Danny Chadwick
Danny has been a technology journalist since 2008. He served as senior writer, as well as multimedia and home improvement editor at Top Ten Reviews until 2019. Since then, he has been a freelance contributor to Lifewire and ghostwriter for Fit Small Business. His work has also appeared on Laptop Mag, Tom’s Guide, and business.com. Read Full Bio »